European Away Days: Derry City vs HB Torshavn

Derry City will make the trip to the Faroe Islands to face HB Torshavn in the first qualifying round of the 2023/24 Europa Conference League.

The Candystripes will travel to the Gundadalur, a multi-use stadium in the capital city of Torshavn.

HB Torshavn

HB Torshavn has been playing in their nation’s capital since the club’s inception in 1904. But didn’t play their first home fixture until they beat TB Tvoroyri 3-1 in 1909.

It wasn’t until 1942 that the Faroe Islands established their national league. Which is now known as the Faroe Islands Premier League.

HB Torshavn won their first league title in 1955, in the same season they won the inaugural Faroe Island Cup competition to complete a fantastic double-winning campaign.

They have gone on to win the league title a further 23 times, with their most recent triumph coming in the dark days of 2020. Currently, they sit in third position of the 2023 Premier League table after 16 games, behind B36 Torshavn, and bitter rivals, KI Klaksvik.

Third place was how HB Torshavn finished the 2022 season, securing themselves a lucrative Europa Conference League spot.

European History

HB Torshavn is no stranger to the process of a major UEFA European competition.

They made their debut in the 1993/94 Cup Winners’ Cup campaign, beating FK Jelgava of Latvia in the qualification round, and losing out to Romania’s FC U Craiova 1948 in the first round of the competition.

Two seasons later the club made their first and only European group-stage appearance in the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup. Torshavn was drawn into Group 3 alongside Swizz side FC Aarau, Belgium’s Beerschot AC, Tromso Idrettslag of Norway, and a familiar foe, FC U Craiova.

Torshavn finished fourth in the group with only two points on the board. One of which was earned against Beerschot, who had Roger Lukaku in their ranks, the father of both Jordan and Romelu.

The club would continue to make appearances in early qualification rounds of the Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League, UEFA Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup, and Intertoto Cup facing the likes of APOEL, Red Bull Salzburg, and Malmo FF.

Last season they were dumped out of the Europa Conference League in the opening round of qualification by Welsh side, Newtown via penalties after a closely contested two-legged affair.

HB Torshavn has zero experience against League of Ireland sides in European competitions. The closest they came was facing Linfield in the 2019/20 Europa League second qualifying round, and their fellow Belfast natives, Glentoran in the same competition the following season.

Overall, they’ve played in 62 European matches, with nine wins, 14 draws, and 39 defeats.

Derry vs HB Torshavn

Derry City will be facing a side that is heavily influenced by homegrown talent, with a sprinkle of Sweden and Denmark natives.

Mikkel Dahl is the side Danish dangerman, who has bagged himself ten goals this season, but is enduring a dry patch as he’s failed to find the net in his last four outings.

They’re missing their prolific striker Stefan Radosavljevic, who was Torshavn top goal-scorer last season. The 22-year-old made the move to the League of Ireland ahead of the 2023 season and is trying to find his feet for Sligo Rovers.

HB Torshavn’s current ranks are full of players capped at the international level for Faroe Island, with Ari Jonsson, Viljormur Davidsen, and goalkeeper, Teitur Gestsson all highly experienced representing their country.

Derry City will fancy their chances of progressing further into the competition and will be dreaming of a place in the group stages.
Manager, Ruaidhrí Higgins has openly committed himself to the club following speculation that Barnsley was looking to swoop him into their hot seat.

Inconsistent performances have plagued Derry of late, with the reigning FAI Cup holders only picking up two wins in their previous eight matches, but will be boosted by a dramatic 2-1 win over Sligo Rovers in their last game, courtesy of a late Will Patching penalty.

They’ll be hoping for less dramatic scenes in this European adventure. Regardless, a packed-out Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium will be behind them for the return leg on Thursday, 20th of July.

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